Apple CEO Tim Cook says he forgot to say something important on the conference call

Apple CEO Tim Cook said he made a mistake by not talking about China’s growing middle class when he recently discussed Apple’s financial results.

Cook made the admission to CNBC’s Jim Cramer, during an appearance on the Mad Money program. Apple’s stock took a beating after disappointing quarterly results last week, and Cramer asked Cook if he painted the company’s China prospects in a more negative light than intended.

From the transcript:

JIM CRAMER: But you left [Chinese demographics] out this quarter. On the conference call, I parsed every word of your last few conference calls. You did not talk about middle class classification, which then made us feel that something was wrong?

TIM COOK: No. No, I — then it was my error for not talking about it. I am — I could not be more optimistic about China. I think the long-term thesis is intact, there has never been anything like it in the history of the world. And I’m still as optimistic as I’ve ever been.

China has been Apple’s growth engine for the past few years. It’s a function of demographics: as Cook repeatedly points out, the middle class in China is booming, from “50 million five years ago” to 500 million in 2021.

But the region has also been a source of some anxiety for investors lately, with worries that sales of iPhones in China may have hit a wall. Adding to the worries, investor Carl Icahn recently sold off his stake in Apple, attributing his move to fears about Apple’s position in the China market.

Cook’s comments with Cramer on Monday didn’t immediately lift the stock up in after hours trading, but it’s safe to assume that Cook now has some mandatory talking points for next quarter’s earnings call.


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